While most international business schools include a set of MBA essays in their MBA admissions process, some ask for a Statement of Purpose (SoP) for their undergrad / post-grad (masters) global business management courses.
What is a statement of purpose? How does an MBA SoP differ from an MS SoP? Are there any examples and samples of MBA SoP to use for reference? We tackle these questions in this article.
Think about the elements that make up the first (pre-interview) phase of any international MBA application. You’ve got your MBA entrance exam scores (GMAT / GRE / TOEFL / IELTS), your resume, a couple of recommendations and some general information that you include in the application form.
These are all rear-view mirrors telling the Adcom officer what you’ve done in your illustrious past. None of them really tell the admissions council why you want a business management degree.
What’s your ‘purpose’ in life? Or to make it a less philosophical and more focused, what’s your career goal?
This is the big question that your MBA statement of purpose is expected to answer, along with several other sub-questions that we’ll soon list down.
While they may share the same name (SoP), the way to approach an MBA SoP is different from what you might expect for a Masters (MS) SoP. The big difference between an MBA and MS SoP is apparent when you compare the profiles of MS vs MBA applicants.
Masters of Science (MS) applicants are usually freshers. MBA applicants are older and more mature, having spent 3-4 years working in the industry. So, there’s much more for them to include in their MBA SoP. This makes it more challenging to write a good MBA SoP.
While an MS SoP can be more technical in nature, the MBA SoP has to do a balancing act of building upon the technical roles you’ve been in and the managerial potential that draws you to international MBA universities.
As a seasoned executive, your professional maturity and academic clarity should reflect in your MBA SoP.
Some MBA schools may provide some hints about what they’d like to see in the SoP. Others will keep it open ended assuming you’ve got a crystal ball to read their mind and know what to do.
Unlike your bullet-point riddled resume, your MBA SoP format will have a more free-flowing format with your key messages spread across logical paragraphs.
These sub-sections can be used to tackle some of the following questions.
Keep in mind that the MBA admissions team already has your resume. So you don’t need to waste the SoP ‘real-estate’ repeating what they already know. However, it’s fine to share a quick summary to set the context.
Many MBA colleges don’t specify the word count for MBA SoPs and leave it to the applicant’s discretion.
Some applicants look at it as an opportunity to spread their wings and soar.
But they end up pumping in too much data that makes the Adcom’s eyes sore.
[Aadab arz hai!]
Others who are too lazy or impatient, write a few general statements for the sake of formality and submit the application.
Both approaches aren’t good. If the university doesn’t specify the length, you could aim for 1000 words in the MBA SoP.
More importantly, it’s the structure, content and presentation that matters more than the word-count.
While it may be very tempting to download some PDF samples of MBA SoP, shortlist one that sounds impressive and change a few words here and there to write your own SoP, it’s a very bad idea.
If you are completely clueless about where to start, it’s fine to look at MBA SoP examples. But do NOT re-use any of that content.
Universities abroad take plagiarism very seriously. If you falsify the information or misrepresent your achievements or submit someone else’s work, expect to pay the price for it.
If you are working with an overseas counsellor who’s helping you in writing MBA SoPs, it is still your responsibility to ensure that the final product is original and honest.
With those disclaimers, here’s a list of sample MBA SoPs that we found on other websites.
As you’d notice while browsing through them, the quality varies quite a bit. So be careful about what ideas you decide to pick from each of these SoP examples for MBA and related business courses.
A better approach is to start from scratch and create an SoP that truly reflects who you are. We’ll get to that part soon.